I’ve been wearing them all week. And it’s not just me. I’m seeing them everywhere--polka dots paired with polka dots. And why not? Who couldn’t use a little cheer sprinkled in with the news these days.
Reviewing the week...
It began Monday with Obama’s speech on how to fix the deficit--raise taxes on the wealthy, cut spending. More specifically, meet the proposed “Buffett Rule,” named for uber-billionaire Warren Buffett who keeps saying it’s crazy that he pays less in taxes than his secretary (17.4% rate vs an average of 36%).
Under the Obama administration’s proposal, taxes would rise (or come more in line with what middle income earners pay) for the top one percent--people who earn over $1 million a year. The New York Times looked at Treasury Department data and said 238,000 households filed taxes with over one million in income in 2009. About 60,000 of those households paid less than 15% in taxes on that income.
Cue the “class warfare” rhetoric: Republicans say the wealthy are job creators who already pay more than their fair share in taxes. Obama responds: “This isn’t class warfare. It’s math.” Rather than “gut” education and medical research spending, it’s time to prioritize, make tough choices and have those who can afford it pay more. And if we do nothing...
Moving on, a few more highlights from the week...
- U.S. hikers imprisoned in Iran for two years are freed. Maybe soon we’ll understand exactly why they felt the need to hike along the border of Iran and Iraq, but we’re glad they are free. WSJ commenters were tough on these two.
- The United Nations met in New York where Palestinian leader Abbas lobbied for a seat in the United Nations, asking to be recognized globally as an individual state.
- Hewlett-Packard named former eBay CEO and California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman as CEO. Her appointment brings the number of women running Fortune 500 companies back to 12, which had dropped when Yahoo fired Carol Bartz a few weeks ago.
On Thursday, Facebook rolled out changes to its site, introducing Timeline, a feature that lets you enhance your personal profile--to tell the story of your life and connect the dots. I covered the event, dressed in my polka-dot shirt, happy to be working in the excited, super-charged atmosphere created by the developers there. Silicon Valley these days feels like it exists in a carefree bubble, but the Facebook event was a welcome distraction from troubles brewing elsewhere in the world. Even as people partied it up, the Dow dropped a terrifying 500 points on worries that Europe’s debt crisis threatens a global recession.
Here’s hoping the polka dot optimism will see us through to the holidays.